Week 8 of the SEC season is in the books and with a number of teams on a bye week the options for best moments are a little more limited than usual. There were, however, plenty of not-so-good things going on Saturday and here is a look at five of the very worst.
By Steve Wright
5 – Still no Derek Stingley Jr.
I would be amazed if we see LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. back on a college football field. After undergoing a procedure back in early October to repair a foot injury, the news on Stingley from LSU head coach Ed Orgeron has been nothing but vague. Basically, with Orgeron caching as a lame duck and with LSU going nowhere fast this season there is no incentive for one of the top draft prospects in the country – Stingley is eligible for early entry into the 2022 NFL Draft – to return. Given his performance in 2019 as a freshman where he was a monster in the defensive backfield that is a sad end to what could have been quite the legacy.
4 – Mike Wright’s interception
There are some interceptions a defense has to work for and then there are some that are just gifts. This one is decidedly in the latter category. Vandy had some momentum after a Jaylen Mahoney interception, but Wright gave that momentum right back to the Bulldogs quickly. Trying to throw a deep strike off of your back foot is never a good idea for a quarterback. Doing so while about to be hit by a defensive lineman, to a receiver surrounded by three defensive players is even less wise. The end result was a pass that floated through the air begging for a defender to come down with it. That is exactly what happened and Vandy was never in the contest again.
3 – The Vanderbilt offense
While there was no expectation that the Vanderbilt offense was going to go off against Mississippi State, there was also no expectation that the Commodores would be as dreadful as they were. The Clark Lea rebuild is admittedly in full effect, but the stats are ugly. Their longest run of the game netted five yards. They totaled 155 yards on the day. They ended with five first downs. It is hard to get a foothold in a game when you finish with fewer first downs than the opposition has touchdowns.
2 – Alabama on special teams
This is a weird one. ‘Bama has no business being bad on special teams and the unit under Nick Saban has generally always been a plus point for the Crimson Tide. Against Tennessee, however, the Alabama special teams play was as bad as I have ever seen it. A missed field goal is fine, if a little annoying, as they happen all the time. A blocked punt is worse, especially when the player blocking the ball is essentially blocked into the path of the punter by an offensive lineman. Add in a pretty ridiculous in nature roughing the punter penalty to extend a Tennessee drive and it was a bad day all around.
1 – Zack Calzada’s interception
The Aggies strolled to a win over South Carolina, but there was a first-quarter interception by A&M quarterback Zack Calzada along the way that defied belief. Calzada must have thrown this pass without looking at the position of any defenders as he chucked the ball into double coverage against a Gamecocks defense that has been living on the big play all year. The decision to throw was bad enough, but the execution was somehow worse as the pass was off target and wide of his receiver. It was such a bad pass, in fact, that it took both South Carolina defenders to reel it in on a deflection from one to the other.